There are countless business plan templates and guides you can download from the internet. But what will make your business plan successful, and make it stand out from all those others who used the same downloaded templates?

Take a look at this infographic to learn how you can make your business plan the best it can be:

10 Tips for Writing the Best Business Plan

1. Know your competition

Include a complete study of your competitors. Name all of them, and comment on how you are better than, or at least different from, each of them. Make sure not to underestimate your competition, however.

2. Pay attention to your language skills

You might not be a writer, but a well-written business plan makes a good impression. Consider asking for help if you are unsure.

If English is not your first language, take a look at: Basic English Language Skills (E-book)

3. Proofread

Even if you are a really good writer, ask a few people you trust to proofread your business plan. It’s easy to miss your own mistakes.

4. Support your business plan with numbers

Get hard data, facts, and statistics on your side, especially when it comes to talking about your industry’s market.

This will increase your credibility much more than any estimates or predictions you might make.

5. Be clear and concise

Don’t ramble, leave out filler language, and come straight to the point. Your business plan should be less than 20 pages long.

6. Ask for advice

There is no shame in getting help, either from professionals or from people you know.

Also remember to talk to people who work in finance, marketing, law, or production to help you with certain elements of your business plan.

7. Don’t ignore your customers

As the saying goes, “the customer is always right.” Don’t assume that you know what your customers will pay for.

Do research, conduct surveys, and organise focus groups to get hard customer data.

8. Be realistic

Having an optimistic vision is great, as long as you remain realistic. Don’t embellish or over-project in your business plan.

Being realistic will also help you conceptualise your business better, and will help you to convince investors to take you seriously.

9. Be creative

Do something unique with your business plan that will not only make it stand out from the rest, but will also show that you have vision and initiative.

Don’t just take an existing template and fill it in with your own information.

10. Tailor your business plan

You need to know your audience. If you are submitting your plan for a bank loan, think like a banker when writing it. If you need investors, write your business plan specifically for them.

You should also make sure you cover all key areas:

  1. Do research on what a business plan should contain, and make sure you cover all the relevant aspects. And be sure to pay particular attention to areas relevant to your specific business.
  2. You can find all the key areas here: How to Write a Great Business Plan

If you want to learn the right way to start a business, you can also study a course in entrepreneurship.

Have a look at the following courses you can study to help you get your business off the ground, and make a success of your venture:

Oxbridge Academy Short Learning Programmes

(Note: This post was updated on 13 December 2016 to reflect the updated course list.)